The European Commission has today published the second EU-wide Report on the Rule of Law with a Communication looking at the situation in the EU as a whole and dedicated country chapters on each Member State. The 2021 report looks at the new developments since last September, deepening the assessment of issues identified in the previous report and taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the report shows many positive developments in Member States, including where challenges identified in the 2020 report are being addressed. However, concerns remain and in certain Member States these have increased, for instance when it comes to the independence of the judiciary and the situation in the media. The report also underlines the strong resilience of national systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic also illustrated the importance of the ability to maintain a system of checks and balances, upholding the rule of law.
Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said: “The Rule of Law Report is a useful preventive tool that has stimulated needed debate among the Member States and other actors. The second edition shows that Member States can make progress to address rule of law matters. Yet this has been uneven and there are causes for serious concern in a number of Member States, especially when it comes to the independence of judiciary. Moreover, two journalists were murdered over the past months – this is not acceptable. The report calls for decisive action to improve media freedom and pluralism. Over the next year, we expect the findings of the 2021 report to nourish discussions between Member States as they work to strengthen the rule of law.”
Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “Over this past year, the 2020 Rule of Law Report has encouraged positive reforms related to the rule of law in a number of Member States. Moreover, the Council of Ministers used it to modernise its rule of law dialogue, with regular country-specific debates. I have also debated the report in 20 national parliaments. This year, we have further deepened our assessment, which benefitted from even more outreach than last year. The report can help us to have a real dialogue as a Union, side by side, in an honest and open spirit. This 2021 report, building on the one of last year, will foster this process.”